In American politics, nothing is real until money is spent. Candidates talk all the time about their “path to victory,” but until actual invoices are being paid with actual cash, it’s all bullshit.
Just in case you weren’t convinced that the expected November US Senate clash between Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt is truly of national interest, there is now a clear sign that it has passed the “money being spent” threshold.
Someone who Googles “Laxalt for Senate” is now greeted by three ads. As in, three instances in which someone paid Google to place a link at the top of the page for anyone looking for information about Adam Laxalt for Senate.
The first is, naturally enough, the Laxalt campaign website. The next is a New York Times story headlined “Laxalt is Leading for Senate in Nevada.” But it’s the third that offers the clearest indication of national interest.
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Act Blue, a super PAC established to maintain and expand Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, has purchased a link.
This is not a small investment. Getting those top spots consumes a large portion of a candidate’s or third party’s online spend. And depending on your browser history, the Act Blue link might come up even higher; it was in the second position after I had clicked both links, which means that my browser history and cookies are even more valuable to Act Blue.
This kind of “cross spending” definitely goes the other way.
A search for “Cortez Masto Senate” produces the official Laxalt for Senate site in the first position, as well as sometimes offering the same Act Blue sponsored ad for her official campaign site. A non-paid link to her official government site follows the paid stuff.
An idiosyncrasy of Senator Cortez Masto’s official campaign site is that it would appear to be only for fundraising. I’m something of a campaign website junkie, and there is definitely a formula to them. In fact, the great majority of them are boilerplate templates that the candidate simply fills in with her own biographical history, her family photos, and her promise to cut taxes or support greater social spending or whatever.
With the Cortez Masto site, there is no “About the Candidate” page, or “Cortez Masto on the issues,” or “Meet the Candidate’s Family.” Just a single 72-word paragraph and links to make donations. It’s basically Give Money or GTFO.
It will be interesting to see as the race nears — we are more than a year away, and there’s at least a nominal primary to get through — whether cross spending like Act Blue on Laxalt picks up. But there is now zero doubt that the race will be close enough to merit major spending on all sides.
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